Captivating World Heritage Temple in Tohoku (2N3D)

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Tour code : 002004C

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Our introduction to special places in the Tohoku Region in Japan’s North East. The UNESCO World Heritage temple of Chuson-ji and the mountaintop views from Yamadera are sure to create an unforgettable experience.

Trip HighLights

  • Two nights accommodation including breakfast and dinner
  • UNESCO World Heritage Temple and symbol of Tohoku Region- Chuson-ji
  • Picturesque Mountain Retreat – Risshaku-ji also known as The Mountain Temple
  • Mix of guided and self guided activities

Quick Itinerary

Day One
10:40 Sendai Station Meet Tour Guide and store luggage

   Risshaku-ji, the Mountain Temple  A spiritual place in the mountains and inspiration for poets through the years.

   Ginzan Onsen  Stroll around the old fashioned onsen hot springs resort town. Time for a relaxing soak in some healing waters.

(Or similar)
Check in to Ryokan and enjoy a hot springs bath. Dinner Included.
Meals Included on Day One: Dinner ☑

 Day Two
   Chuson-ji Temple  Over 1,000 years old full of remarkable features like its gold leaf covered hall. Part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site - Historic Monuments and Sites of Hiraizumi.

   Motsu-ji Temple  The garden itself is an expression of the Pure Land concept in Buddhist thought. A place of singular tranquility.

   Genbi Gorge  Rugged, rocky scenery formed by volcanic activity and rushing water over the millenia.

18:00  Minami Sanriku Hotel Kanyo 
(Or similar)
Check in to accommodation. Dinner included.

 Meals Included on Day Two: Breakfast ☑ Dinner ☑ 

 Day Three
   Zuihoden Mausoleum  Extremely ornate final resting place of the feudal lords of Tohoku, the Datés.

 Meals Included on Day Three: Breakfast ☑ 

Please see My Page after completing booking for a more detailed itinerary.

Access Information

Tour Start Point Sendai Station
Tour Start Point Map
How to get to the Tour Start Point By train:
About 90 minutes from Tokyo on Shinkansen Bullet Train.
  • Trip Locations & Experiences

  • Terms & Conditions

  • Hear From an Expert



Risshaku-ji is also known as the Mountain Temple. Passing by countless cedar trees on the way up to this historical place, you can feel the sense of solitude that this remote location provided. The views from Godaido Hall are said to be some of the best in Northern Japan. A thousand years ago, a flame was carried to this temple from the Enryaku-ji monastery near Kyoto. It still burns brightly to this day.

Matsuo Basho and the Mountain Temple

Matsuo Basho and the Mountain Temple

A haiku about the tranquil beauty of the temple is carved into a rock as a tribute to Matsuo Basho. He spent time in Tohoku and worked on his poetry here. The 5-7-5 syllable haiku reads:

Sabishisa ya
Iwa ni shimikomu
Semi no koe

How still it is!
Stinging into the stones,
The locusts' trill.

Visitors to Yama-dera (Mountain Temple) of Risshaku-ji can feel the stillness that inspired one of Japan’s most important literary figures.

(Translation of haiku: Donald Keene, World Within Walls: Japanese Literature of the Pre-Modern Era, 1600-1867, New York, 1999, p. 89 (Translation: Donald Keene)

Ginzan Onsen Hot Springs Town

Ginzan Onsen Hot Springs Town

A pretty little resort town located in the mountains of Yamagata. The rows of old fashioned buildings are picturesque. It may feel like you have been transported back to a simpler time.   To some visitors, it reminds them of the years of the Taisho Emperor who reigned from 1912-1926.


Kosekiya is a charming ryokan. It is one of the ryokan inns that make up the hot spring resort town of Ginzan.

Chuson-ji Temple

Chuson-ji Temple

At the end of the 11th century, in order to bring about the “land of Buddha” where neither friend nor foe exists (an ideal society according to the teachings of Buddha), Kiyohira Fujiwara, his son Motohira and grandson Hidehira built the city of Hiraizumi over a period of 100 years. The most famous structures of the city are Chuson-ji Temple and Motsu-ji Temple..

The Chuson-ji Temple Konjiki-do Golden Hall is covered in gold leaf both inside and out. The interior is decorated with iridescent shell inlay, delicate metal fittings, and gold and silver sprinkled over lacquer. The beauty of Konjiki-do is mesmerizing.

Also of note is the building known as Oi-do which encases the Konjiki-do. Oi-do was created to conceal the Konjiki-do in order to protect its beauty..

Poet Matsuo Basho (1644 – 1694) saw a scene here at Chuson-ji Temple. It appeared that the rain could not directly fall over Konjiki-do.

This inspired his famous haiku;

“So the rains of Spring fall and fall,

yet leave untouched this bright Hall of God”.

Motsu-ji Temple

Motsu-ji Temple

Motsu-ji Temple is famous for its beautiful Jodo-teien style Japanese garden. The style is based on an ancient Japanese text known as Sakuteiki. Flowing water and an arrangement of garden rocks were carefully placed as to symbolize nature and creating a space to both capture and calm one’s heart.

Genbi Gorge in Iwate Prefecture

Genbi Gorge in Iwate Prefecture

Ichinoseki City is home to Genbi Gorge.

There are two kilometers of towering rockfaces along this gorge and many points along it offer spectacular views.

A treasured spot of natural beauty in the Tohoku area.

Zuihoden Mausoleum

Zuihoden Mausoleum

The elaborately decorated resting place of the powerful Daté feudal lords. Guidance is available in English. Daté Masamune, the founder of Sendai City and known as The One-Eyed Dragon, is buried in this mausoleum complex. There are several monuments and structures with remarkable designs incorporating gold and colorful patterns.

Cancellations and modifications
If you would like to modify details, such as your traveling dates or the number of participants, please cancel your current reservation and make a new one. Cancellations can be made online through “My Page”. Please be aware that a cancellation fee may apply depending on the time of year.

■Cancellation period
[1)Within 60 days of receipt of payment. 2)Up to 8 days before departure]
Cancellation fee:None (free of charge)

[3 days before departure]
Cancellation fee:30% of the total tour fee

[the day before departure 1 day before departure]
Cancellation fee:40% of the total tour fee

[On the departure day On the day]
Cancellation fee:50% of the total tour fee

[After departure or in case of no-show]
Cancellation fee:100% of the total tour fee

About taxi drivers and sightseeing・Concerning your luggage
・For your convenience, we have arranged for taxis and mini-vans to allow you the comfort of traveling without being preoccupied about handling your luggage. Taxis will be available regardless of the number of participants however, due to space limitations, we ask you to inform us should you be traveling with more than 3 pieces per person (additional costs may incur). To respect your privacy, we work exclusively with experienced drivers who can only speak Japanese. For necessary information, we have prepared a separate document with useful phrases in English and other foreign languages.

・During the tour, large items such as suitcases and duffle bags will be kept in the trunk of the taxis. When getting on and off, please feel free to request access to your belongings from the driver at any time. However, we ask that you keep any valuable and fragile items as well as perishable food items with you at all times. Please acknowledge that we are not liable for any damages to your luggage in the event of an accident during transportation. We do not take responsibility for the damage, loss or theft of items due to negligence of the transportation company or its employees.

For customers joining tours during the winter period
・Over the winter season (December to March), it is not uncommon to see snow in Japan. Please understand that weather-related changes in the road conditions will also impact the tour schedule. If you need to catch a train or a flight to another city at the end of the tour, we advise you to give yourself extra time to work around any potential delays.

Itinerary Changes
・Tourist spots may sometimes need to be changed, or the length of travel time required may be different due to traffic conditions, etc. Please note that additional charges may be applicable if the arrival time is later than the end time specified in the itinerary.

Tour operation: regarding the minimum number of participants
・Tours may be canceled if the minimum number of travelers is not reached. In that case, an e-mail notifying customers to this effect will be sent up to 12 days before the start of the tour. Full refunds shall be issued for any canceled tours.

Akihiro Takagi from Iwate Tourism Association

Akihiro Takagi from Iwate Tourism Association

About Chuson-ji Buddhist Temple:

In June 2011, Chuson-ji became Iwate Prefecture’s first World Heritage Site. It is associated with three generations of the powerful Northern Fujiwara Clan.

Konjiki-do is a work of art. The entire structure. This Golden Hall is a breathtaking combination of the pinnacle of Heian Period craftsmanship from the 8th-12th Centuries. Gold leaf, mother of pearl, and maki-e style lacquer work are all on display together.

Come see Sukhavati, the Bodhisattva Amitabha’s Pure Land, all covered in gold with your own eyes!

Kazuya Kuroi from Yamagata Tourism Association

Kazuya Kuroi from Yamagata Tourism Association

Risshaku-ji Temple, also known as Yamadera or The Mountain Temple is well known as sacred ground in Tendai Buddhism here in in the Tohoku Region of Northern Japan. Established as a place of reflection and meditation by the venerated monk Ennin, it later went on to be the inspiration for famous haiku by the foremost Japanese poet, Matsuo Basho.

The climb to the observation point at Godaido Hall is quite strenuous, but once you reach the top, the views of the jagged rocks and tall trees are well worth it. The scenery was described by renowned American scholar Edwin O. Reischauer as “Another Japan, beyond the mountains”.

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